Limited Edition Call and Response: Alex Escalante + Antic Meet

Merce Cunningham, Antic Meet, 1958; Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust; Distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

Editors Note

On the occasion of the exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, and the performance program Limited Edition, Projects + Perspectives and Open Space invited artists Alex Escalante, Keith Hennessy, and Leyya Tawil to offer their thoughts on three iconic dance works included in the Rauschenberg show — and to link these works to three contemporary pieces. On P+P you’ll find Merce Cunningham’s Antic Meet, Trisha Brown’s Glacial Decoy, and Robert Rauschenberg’s Pelican, and on Open Space you’ll find robbinschilds’ Sonya and Layla Go Camping, Skywatchers’ I Got a Truth to Tell, and a collaboration between Mohamad Bayoumi, Michael Ibrahim, and Mohannad Ghawanmeh.


by Alex Escalante

Piercing audio waves. Piercing purpose that is directional and slices through space. Tidy systems that overlap but never directly communicate, yet make total sense as a collaborative entity. Effortless. Humor: Dry.

Extreme focus is always present. The commitment has no room for distractions.

(An aside: the chair that briefly adorned Merce’s back in this dance would later in life become his permanent vehicle. Me, behind his back, pushing him through life in New York City and on tour around the world when I worked as his assistant. I once sped down the rainy cobblestone streets of Paris trying to get him to the theater in time for his tossing of the dice that would establish that evening’s alchemy of its distinct parts. I had overslept. He bobbed up and down in his wheelchair, escaping the injury that certainly would have come about had I erred in my risk-taking. How he wished to be cutting through space on his own accord.)

Austere surroundings. Vaudevillian roots that poke at the classicism of early experiences. The anti-Martha. Breaking with the traditionally mundane. No meaning. No emotion. No Symbolism. Processing the residue that history imprints. Drawing from it all.

If it wasn’t for Black Mountain…

When I encountered “the chair piece” in my first year of dance history class in college, I knew very little of Merce Cunningham and little to nothing of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage. I couldn’t have wagered a guess as to what a prepared piano could be. It was the beginning of my real education.


Alex Escalante

Alex Escalante

Alex Escalante is originally from Los Angeles, CA but spent the last two decades in NYC working as a dancer, choreographer, actor, photographer, and carpenter. He was also a teaching artist working with at-risk youth in public schools. Alex recently relocated back to CA and is enjoying his new surroundings in the Bay Area.

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Call and Response Limited Edition

On the occasion of the exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, and the performance program Limited Edition, Projects + Perspectives and Open Space invited artists Alex Escalante, Keith Hennessy, and Leyya Tawil to offer their thoughts on three iconic dance works included in the exhibition.

Limited Edition

An Open Space partnership with CounterPulse, The Lab, ODC Theater, Performance at SFMOMA, and Z Space, Limited Edition explores questions of legacy and lineage through performances, discussions, and gatherings at various locations throughout the city from January to March 2018, and includes a series of commissioned texts.

Exhibition

Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules
November 18, 2017–March 25, 2018

This exhibition demonstrates how, with razor-sharp humor and intelligence, Rauschenberg broke down boundaries between disciplines, anticipated many of the defining cultural and social issues of our time, and redefined what art could be for the generations of artists who followed.

Projects + Perspectives

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